Friday, July 20, 2012

The Value of a Dollar Earned

Our boys came to us about two weeks ago begging for a game. They really, really, really, REALLY wanted this game. Would we buy it for them? Pretty, pretty please?

The irony here is we've been talking about needing to cut back on a lot of stuff to get certain debts paid off. We're not rich, by any means. We don't spend an awful lot of money. But due to not enough income to supplement the inflation in prices, as well as several emergencies that have required the use of a dreaded credit card,  we're not doing as well as we have in the past. So looking into the faces of our two little boys who really, honestly thought we'd just buy them a new game was a wake up call in our need to help our own kids realize money is not always there whenever we need something.

A plan was devised to help them earn some money. The car needed a good cleaning both inside and out. There was a flower bed in desperate need of weeding. the pantry needed a thorough examination to see what had expired, what would expire soon, and what would last us a while longer. We agreed on a price for each job. These jobs plus a few others would help them to pay for their own game.

At first the boys were all excited. Halfway through the weeding job their excitement waned, especially when friends came over hoping for someone to play with, but they plodded on. Halfway through cleaning the car Mr. B was disheartened to hear about all the little places they needed to get in and dejunk, but he hitched up his shorts and kept going. I could hardly believe the commitment these two young boys had in regards to earning the money for something they really wanted.

When the pantry job remained Mr. J was called away to participate with a scouting event. I thought this might keep them from finishing with the pantry this week, but Mr. B surprised me by tackling this all on his own. He rocked it! I couldn't have been prouder to see him figuring out what could stay and what needed to go (though I have a feeling many things that could have stayed now reside in the garbage can).

I have paid my boys for these jobs. Someone will be paying them to keep watch over their house while they go on vacation.  It has been awesome to see their dedication to doing a job well done. On a whim I thought I should try looking on Amazon for the game. Not only did I find it for half off, but we found two controllers for a discounted price as well, something they eventually also hoped to earn money for. Their excitement over getting both put them over the moon!

I told them two things had to happen before they got their game and controllers. First, they had to pay tithing. Second, they had to pay me for the "merchandise."

Tithing is really important to me. I have seen the blessings that have come from returning to the Lord 10% of what we have been blessed with. Tithing is the first thing out of our paycheck. I want my kids to have that same reverence and respect for what they have also been blessed with. We have gone over exactly how much they'll need to pay, and both are so happy to do it.

I want them to pay me the money so that they can see this is not just something I did for them. This is something they accomplished though their own hard work.

Ms. M has had a babysitting job for the last two weeks. She works with a friend Thursday and Friday from nine to five watching a couple of kids. It's not an easy job, but she's very proud of what she's accomplishing, of the responsibility being handed to her. She too knows tithing is important, and is also planning to get many of her own school things so we don't have to.

The last unexpected blessing has been in seeing our littlest want to earn some money as well. Her skills are limited, and she wants to give up mighty quick. It's taken a lot of prodding to make certain she does the job she's been assigned, and does it well. We want to see her recognize even this early what it means to do a job well done, to know what it means to earn an honest dollar.

Today the boys' game arrived. Their faces as money was traded for the merchandise was awesome to behold. This was in every way their game! I may never get my living room back, but it's been worth it.

One last unexpected bonus: this week Mr. J was helping me with the grocery shopping. We were in a crunch for time and by the time we got home from the store and brought the groceries in the house I was desperate for a shower. "Mom," he said, "you go ahead and take a shower. I'll put everything away." "Are you sure?" I asked, both surprised and delighted by his offer. "Sure," he said with a shrug. I got in my shower, and he put the groceries away. A little act of service from a boy who'd been working hard all week. LOVE IT!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Could You Please Turn Off the Computer?

Earlier today my younger son, Mr. B, came in and asked if we could start reading a book together. Mr. J had just finished reading it himself and wouldn't stop telling his little bro about all the seriously cool stuff going on. Mr. B likes to have someone else do the reading for the most part, and seems to enjoy it when his Mama does the reading, hence his coming in to my room and asking.

Before Daddy came home and we left for a quick family outing, Mr. B would read one page, then I would read the next. After a while he was getting frustrated by the appearance of the others who kept grabbing my attention. He also wasn't digging the fact that I was trying to do something on my little computer at the same time, even though I proved I was listening to every word he read.

When Dad said, "Let's go everyone!" my little guy grabbed the book and said, "Should I bring it with us?" I said we'd better not, as we really wouldn't have a chance to sit down and read while we were out. At his disappointed look I promised, "When we get back home the two of us will read again."

Immediately he said, "Can it be just the two of us? With no one else?" I said yes, though I couldn't promise someone might need me here and there for the unexpected not being able to put the toothpaste on the toothbrush. A feat not to be trusted to Dad, apparently.

"And can you please turn off the computer and just read with me?"

I laughed. I really did. He totally had my number. For a woman who was frequently after her kids for spending so much time on the computer and not doing other things, I was guilty of doing the same thing. From my lips came the sacred oath that, "Yes, honey, I'll turn off the computer and give all my attention to you and the book."

And I did :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Confuddled Mind

Well hello there. Yes, it's true. I am still around. Lately I've had so many things running around in my head it's been difficult to sort it all out. I used to be able to do that here, but one of the unexpected after-effects of the depression has been not enjoying the things I used to do. This has included, much to my dismay, blogging. Recent events has reminded me, however, that I made a promise to myself to try and represent my Heavenly Father, my Savior, my church, and my family in a positive and informative way. I've neglected that sorely as of late. So be prepared - this blog post is representative of a plethora of thoughts that have been rumbling around in my mind. Hence the post title. It won't flow nicely, and may make no sense whatsoever, but that's why I'm so confuddled.

When first starting my therapy sessions back when I finally admitted I couldn't work out my depression on my own, my counselor began what's called "Cognitive Therapy" with me. He was basically attempting to help me dispel some beliefs I had about who I was and what was expected of me, and then begin to look at the situations of my life in a different light. It sounds easy enough. Some I know have laughed at it. This was precisely what I needed, however. It's been a few years since I went through this process, but recently some things have reminded me I need to get back in the habit of seeing the positive.

Our Church is instituting a new portion of the missionary program in our area. It's going to take work. It's going to take a LOT of work. It's going to require much faith, much time, and getting out of our comfort zones. When we first heard about it my husband and I felt despair. How could we put in the required effort when we were all ready super-planned with other Church and kid related things!?!?!

Take this last week as an example. We attempted to get as much home and visiting teaching done as possible. Monday I went on a walking field trip with one of my kids' classes which took up the majority of my day. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday my husband was asked by his work to head down to the Provo Temple cafeteria to work, which required an extra 40 minutes of driving time each way. M has had play practices, and then the play itself on Wednesday. M had youth activity on Tuesday night. Wednesday was Field Day at the school, and so I was able to help out with games all the day long! It was fun, but by the end of the night I was badly burned and exhausted! Friday was the last day at school. The assembly went for over two hours, then the car didn't start. That's right. The car died. So hubby and I spent a few hours in the heat of the afternoon trying to jump start the car, taking out the battery, getting a new battery, and finally being able to start the car again. Add to all this cleaning the house, getting laundry done, grocery shopping, and keeping the kids fed.

And that's not all! But it's enough. All that in one week. So hearing at the last minute that hubby has an extra meeting on Wednesday night that will keep him from seeing his daughter's play...let's just say neither of us, nor our darling M, was too happy. "Talk me down, honey," my hubby said. Then both of us had to help talk M down. We continued to have a bad attitude for a few days until we both realized a few things. 1> Neither of us was supporting our priesthood leaders. 2> We weren't setting a good example to our children. 3> The new program being presented that night to the leaders of each ward was inspired by the Lord. And 4> By proceeding in faith and a good attitude we would certainly be blessed.

Since those realizations came to me I have been constantly reminded of one of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon. In 1 Nephi 3:7 we are shown so much of what sort of man Nephi was. When asked to do something not only hard physically, but emotionally and mentally he said, "...I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepapre a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

Those two words, "I know" are powerful things. Nephi had a firm testimony of what he could accomplish when obeying the Lord. How could I, who also "knows" what can be done when I act in faith, complain and whine about things being too much? Simple: I couldn't.

So I've done some major attitude adjustment this weekend. I went to our ward barbeque last night with the intention not to hide away, but talk with those who wanted to talk. Yes I felt rather drained when I got home, but I also felt a greater love for those I spoke with. I felt energized and ready to attack another day. All because I changed my attitude.

My camera died a few months ago. You have no idea how much this pained me, as I loved my camera. It had been given to me several years ago by my older brother and his adorable wife when our last camera even before that had died. I've taken some pretty awesome pictures with that camera. So it's inevitable death made me very sad. Until Mother's Day, when I officially took out my new camera :) It's a Kodak I purchased online through a discout site called Love that site. I'm still figuring out the intricacies of this new camera (it's purple!).

My dad had surgery on his back. That was no fun, for him or us. More so for him, of course. He's finally home and doing well, all things considered. I'd say more but it'll just make me cry. I really love my dad.

My oldest was a youth representative for this year's youth conference. It was held on a stake level this year. They went up to Utah State University in Logan, and had a great time. She lost her glasses, which did not make for a very happy mom and dad, but there's nothing we can do about it other than wait until she can get another pair next year :P

Both boys went to a school-funded camp. It was Mr. B's first serious time away from home, and he was having an extremely hard time leaving. Of course once he was gone he was fine. And once he was home he was so happy to be here. I'm very happy he went.

Mr. J had his new bike stolen. This made the whole family sad! He was having so much fun with this bigger bike. Having it stolen (and it's not the first time this has happened) was a serious blow. We've found another bike at a yard sale, but need to replace the tires before he can ride it.

I was released from the young women's program and placed in the Primary. I've been going through teenage girl withdrawal. Luckily I have one in the house and she brings her friends over. That way I get a thorough fix of teen drama. I'm teaching J's class in Primary. The first day I taught I managed through a series of unfortunate events to incur injuries on two of them, one of them being J who had a mighty bloody nose. When trying to look for the 'bright side' I decided any lesson that doesn't end in injury will be a huge success!!!

I've started making friendship bracelets - revisiting my past. Funny thing is Mr. B is the big one who has liked giving it a try. He's made a few bracelets for a few friends.

Are you all still here? Have you left this particular post thinking, "Don't know why I'm reading this!"? Ah well. Kuddos to those of you who have stuck around. Just for you, I have a funny brought to you by M.

The last day of youth conference she and her dad were dropping off one last person, whose house happened to sit where she could see into the driveway. "Oh no!" she cried in desperation. "What?" asked Dad. "Mom's not home!" In confusion he asks, "How do you know?" "Because, the car's not there!" Shaking his head Dad says, "Honey, we're in the car right now."

I love that girl!